Now a Chinese energy company said they were building the world’s first solar panel farm that looked like giant pandas, the country’s national treasures.
The solar farm, located in Datong, northern China’s Shanxi Province, was connected to the grid on June 29.
The 248-acre solar farm was designed to look like a cute panda. The black sections are monocrystalline silicon (the light-absorbing part of most solar panels) while the white parts are made of second-generation solar technology known as thin film cells.
This solar farm is just the first of 100 planned solar stations shaped like China’s national animal to be built over the next five years. The farms were designed to promote green energy—especially with young people. The hope is that the kid-friendly design paired with on-site eco summer camps and youth-focused design contests, organized by the UN Development Programme and China Merchants New Energy, will inspire the country’s youth to become future leaders in green energy.
When finished, the Datong Panda Power Plant will be able to provide 3.2 billion kWh of green electricity over 25 years, saving over a million tons of coal, or reducing 2.74 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
“By designing the solar power station into the pattern of a panda, we aim to stimulate teenagers’ interest and enthusiasm for solar energy application,” Alan Li, CEO of China Merchants New Energy Group said last year. “To cope with the climate change, we should not only appeal to the governments and companies, but also need to motivate every household, getting the next generation involved in, thus making joint efforts for a green future.”
China Merchants New Energy Group, Panda Green Energy’s largest shareholder, worked with the United Nations Development Program last year to involve youth in innovation design contests.
Plus, there’s more pandas on the way. Panda Green Energy’s Panda 100 Program plans to build many more adorable green energy sites — enough to power 3.2 billion kWh of green electricity over 25 years, according to a release. That’s comparable to saving 1.056 million tons of coal, or reducing 2.74 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the project notes.